All you need to see and know about the Canadians on D-day! As Juno beach covers about nine miles and four villages, it really deserves at least two stops, at Courseulles and Bernières.
Your guide will show you a whole number of monuments to the Canadians and tell you some of the most interesting stories. Even more information will be found in the Juno Beach Center, the only Canadian museum in Normandy.
The Canadian cemetery located only a few miles away is a real tribute to those who died for our freedom. Quite heart-breaking too is the visit of the Abbey d’Ardenne, outside of Caen, where Canadian prisoners were executed by nazi soldiers..
This museum, the only Canadian one in Normandy, was first opened in 2003 on a private first initiative of a D-day veteran, Garth Webb (1918-2012). It is here to commemorate the contributions and sacrifices of Canadian soldiers during the liberation of Europe in WW2.
Divided in seven parts, it explains what Canada was before the war started, how the country turned completely toward the war effort, the different Canadian campaigns in Europe and the total human cost. The museum always houses a temporary exhibition.
Located just behind the sand dunes of Juno Beach, it is surrounded by German bunkers and beach obstacles, Canadian and Allied military equipment, monuments, sculpture, inukshuk and information signs.
Western part of the assault on Juno Beach, three sectors were given to different regiments to attack : Canadian Scottish / Royal Winnipeg Rifles / Regina Rifles. The troops landed on either side of the Seulles river and the small fishing village of Courseulles was liberated in the afternoon.
Numerous monuments are to be found here, including a Churchill Petard tank (especially engineered for D-day) and one of the so-called “amphibious” D-D tanks, and also a large Cross of Lorraine that marks the place where General de Gaulle came back to France in June 1944.
On this eastern side of Juno Beach, two other infantry regiments attacked : the Queen’s Own Rifles and the North Shore. At Bernières, where La Chaudière Regiment later landed, is located the main monument close to the famous big Norman house that is in so many D-day pictures, and which still permanently flies a Canadian flag.
The German resistance in this area and then the counter-attack from the south caused the slow progression inland toward Caen and stopped the troops from reaching the Carpiquet airfield.
Located between Bény and Reviers, inland from Juno Beach on top of the little hill that overlooks the coast, this cemetery is beautifully maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It is the final resting place of 2.043 Canadians (as well as one French and four British soldiers) including the 359 Canadians killed on D-day.
The entrance is decorated with four maples and the Stone of Remembrance. At the center of the graveyard is the Cross of Sacrifice, surrounded by the limestone headstones (all of which have recently been replaced).
Beautiful Norman abbey from the 12th century, privately owned and partly used as a farm at the time by the Vico family (the father Roland and his sons Jacques and Jean-Marie were active Resistants). Unfortunately taken over on June 7 by Colonel Kurt Meyer’s 25th Regiment of the 12th SS Hitler’s Youth Panzer Division, as church towers were an excellent vantage point.
A number of their Canadian prisoners were brought here and executed on June 7th and 8th in the back garden. The abbey was only liberated on July 8 as the Canadians were reaching the city of Caen. In 1945 Meyer was tried by Canadian Military Court and found guilty of war crimes.